Passenger to Frankfurt Mass Market Paperback – Nov 1992
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“I cut my mystery teeth on Agatha Christie. She is and will always be the queen of mystery.” (John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author)
“Marvelously entertaining.” (Observer (UK))
“The cleverness of it remains as unflagging as ever.” (Sunday Times (London)) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
Sir Stafford Nye's flight home from Malaya takes an unprecedented twist when a young woman confides in him that someone is trying to kill her. In a moment of weakness, he agrees to lend her his passport. Unwittingly, the diplomat has put his own life on the line. When he meets the mystery woman again, she is a different person, and he finds himself drawn into a battle against an invisible—and altogether more dangerous—enemy. . . .--This text refers to the Paperback edition. See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Stafford Nye, a rather shiftless, easygoing member of Britain's diplomatic corps who, by his own admission, enjoys a good joke and takes life rather less than seriously, encounters a mysterious woman in the airport in Frankfurt. Appealing to his chivalrous instincts and his desire for a bit of an adventure, she persuades him to let her steal his passport and boarding pass and use them to travel to England to avoid what she claims would be her likely murder if she travelled to Switzerland on her previously intended route.
Starting from this preposterously unlikely opening scenario, Christie takes us on a pointless, meandering, achingly repetitive "thriller" that actually constitutes a personal diatribe - the aging dowager authoress's post 1960s current outlook on the world as she rather bleakly perceived it. Neo-fascism, youth rebellion, drugs, violence, armament smuggling, hippies, skinheads and megalomaniacal financial tycoons bent on world domination all make their appearance in a novel whose plot never truly crystallizes into anything concrete.
The current Wikipedia article on "Passenger to Frankfurt" quotes Robert Barnard, a crime writer and contemporary of Agatha Christie, who categorized this novel as "the last of the thrillers, and one that slides from the unlikely to the inconceivable and finally lands up in incomprehensible muddle."
I couldn't agree more. Not recommended.
However, this rather fantastical effort is a departure from her usual murder mysteries into the murky world of espionage and the discovery of an anarchistic conspiracy run by neo-Nazis. The net effect is an amateurish and boring plot burdened by superfluous characters and a lack of exposition.
The main character seems to be likable Sir Stafford Nye, who is actually quite an interesting persona, until he is inexplicably dumped halfway through the book in favour of a fly-on-the-wall observation of various Cabinet meetings that are essentially redundant in telling the reader that the danger faced is very serious and mysterious. There are also long, abstract and irrelevant dialogues between mono-dimensional characters that make Agatha Christie seem at sea with a genre that is apparently too big for her.
When the mastermind behind the conspiracy is uncovered, we see a brief flash of the old Christie, as the culprit is someone whom the reader never suspects. However, the epilogue, instead of explaining the culprit's motives or the fates of the various conspirators is instead a humorous yet unsatisfactory marriage between Sir Stafford and another character.
Several times during the narrative, I found the courage and fortitude to continue only by telling myself that the ending would be as brilliant and fulfilling as all her previous novels, yet once again, I was thoroughly disappointed with this sad excuse for a novel
While returning from a trip to far east for the Foreign Office, Sir Stafford Nye was approached by a young woman who had an interesting request. She wanted to borrow his passport and distinctive traveling cloak to escape killers who were stalking her. Sir Stafford agreed to help her which set a strange and exciting adventure in motion. Within a few weeks Sir Stafford found himself on a trail that lead throughout England, to Germany and beyond. His fellow travelers included the beautiful woman that set things in motion, scientists, diplomats, mystery men and his Great Aunt Matilda and one of her old school mates.
Even though this is a departure from Christie's usual work it is still a well crafted story, full of red herrings and interesting quirky characters as one would expect from Dame Agatha. We are also treated to a visit from Mr. Robinson, the shadowy figure of international intrigue that has appeared in some earlier works.
Most recent customer reviews
Agatha must have e.s.p. I feel that this story is really happening todayPublished 9 months ago by Penelope Roberts
I agree with those reviewers that believe that this is not Agathat's best work, far from it. Her foray is mystery and this books attempts to be a thriller, which doesn't work at... Read morePublished on June 12 2004 by Alexandra Ostrov
At the Frankfurt airport the diplomat Sir Stafford Nye takes an enormous risk when he gives, without questions, his flamboyant cloak and his passport to a young woman who slightly... Read morePublished on April 25 2004 by Geert Daelemans
I am now on my third time reading this book in its entirety, and I still love it. Maybe it's my affection for the name Sir Stafford Nye, or maybe it's my fascination with the... Read morePublished on May 25 2003
...Except for Stafford Nye, Great-Aunt Matilda, and Theodora/Renata/Mary Ann, who are often absent for several chapters on end, the characters are so poorly developed that when... Read morePublished on April 26 2003